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Infinite Variety: The Life & Legend of the Marchesa Casati - The Definitive Edition [Paperback]

Scot D. Ryersson , Michael Orlando Yaccarino
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Aug 2004
The Marchesa Luisa Casati was Europe's most notorious celebrity, and its most eccentric. Artists painted and sculpted her, poets praised her beauty, and fashion designers fought for her patronage. Among those she captivated were Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton and Jack Kerouac. Then, after the first three decades of the 20th century, the extravagance ended. Her wealth was gone and Casti fled to London. This is her story.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press; New edition edition (11 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816645205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816645206
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.1 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A beautifully written biography...Prepare to be astonished by this little-known story of a genuine legend.' -- ELLE

'A book packed with iridescent detail.' -- BARRY HUMPHRIES, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

'A sumptuously detailed biography.' -- SUSIE MAGUIRE, SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

'Messrs Ryersson and Yaccarino must be congratulated on having disinterred her bizarre and fascinating story. Their account, written in an an appropriately rococo style, dwells lovingly on all the most extravagant aspects of Luisa's career.' -- SELINA HASTINGS, LITERARY REVIEW

'Meticulously researched over three continents and six years, this biography promises to breathe new life into the Casati myth...a refreshing read.' -- KIM LANGLEY, VOGUE AUSTRALIA

'This meticulously researched biography is as much art history as chronicle of personal obsession.' -- LESLIE CHESS FELLER, NEW YORK TIMES

A cult figure for the new millennium!

'It is easy to see how the Marchesa Casati could become a cult figure for the new millennium. She has been the subject of poems, plays, films and novels. But what she now demands, based on this book, is a grand opera.' -- MICHAEL HOLYROYD

Amazing!

'The fabled Marchesa Casati was the "dark lady" of her day...one of the most amazing stories of our time.' -- SHERIDAN MORLEY, INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE

Extraordinary, exotic, outlandish!

'Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino have researched their subject with depth and thoroughness, without which this book could easily have been thought to be fiction. They have brought to life a true feeling of the belle epoque and the extraordinary, exotic, outlandish character of La Casati.' -- LADY MOOREA BLACK, SPECTATOR

Riveting!

'Like a siren seated on the rocks of Capri, or a fabulously plumed bird of paradise shimmering in the grandest salon, the Marchesa Casati was the most extraordinary of the self-styled femmes fatales. Now, at last, we have a book which captures the legend; this engrossing study of the divine Luisa unfolds the fascinating story of her bizarre, baroque life in riveting detail.' -- STEPHEN CALLOWAY, CURATOR, VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM

The ultimate Gothic heroine!

'The fabulous Marchesa Casati was the ultimate Gothic heroine, a bizarre and beautiful figure. Take a leaf out of this book and indulge in a dark and decadent Gothic revival.' -- MEREDITH ETHERINGTON-SMITH, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feasting on an Infinite Variety 4 Oct 2001
Format:Paperback
Finally, a biography of one of the most fascinating women of the early 20th century, the Marchesa Luisa Casati.This is an excellent book that lovingly treats its subject and also sets her story in historical perspective.Interwoven are some of the most interesting people in the arts of that time: Diaghlev, Nijinsky, Isadora Duncan ,D'Annunzio and some of the most prominent painters and photographers of the period: Man Ray, Augustus John and many, many others. They, too, were fascinated by the Marchesa and painted and photographed her. Fortunately, most of these works of art are shared with us in a thick section of photos and paintings.
Altogether a feast for the mind, eye and heart.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than fiction 14 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback
The life of the Marchesa Casati is better than fiction. This biography is marvelously written: you won't get bored. Ever. First of all this is not one of those biographies where the authors waste 5 chapters to tell us the story of the parents, grandparents and all the relatives of the main character: there are just a couple of pages briefly explaining the history of the family and the political and social situation in Italy at the birth of the Marchesa. After that the book goes straight into the life of the Marchesa, from her wedding with the Marchese Casati to her love affair with D'Annunzio and her decadent life style. It's an entertaining biography that drives the reader right into the life of one of the most charming and eccentric female characters in history. Unfortunately, the selection of photos is not the best (many of the best pictures are missing) but this can be easily compensated by the recently published book, by the same authors, called The Marchesa Casati: portraits of a muse, a book of over 200 pages of photos and images of the Marchesa (I have both books and I can say that they are both worth their price).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating biograaphy of a true eccentric 11 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The Marchesa Casati born at the end of the last century lived and partied in most of the capitals of Europe but her greatest fame was her life in Venice where she lived on the Grand Canal in what is now the Guggenheim Museum.
The first, and only, person to have persuaded the mayor of Venice to close St Mark's Square for a private party, she arrived in her gondola escorted by her two pet cheetahs wearing diamond studded collars. She was a muse to many famous artists including Augustus John, Boldini, Epstein and Bakst and when she lived in the Palais Rose in Paris had over one hundred portraits of herself adorning the walls.
Scot Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino have written a well-researched and highly entertaining story of this bizarre Italian aristocrat who greatly added to the fun of a bygone age.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure delight from start to finish 22 April 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This stylish, perceptive and crisp biography of one of the twentieth century's most complex and controversial figures manages at once to be an intimate portrait and a reflection of an age. It should be a sine qua non in everyone's library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legend 11 Aug 2012
By ...
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beautiful and Iconic woman, I've just started reading, so I may be jumping to conclusions, but I'm pretty sure this book will be amazing, just because it's about The Marchesa Casati, perfect for men & woman who love a true femme-fatale.
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